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Michigan Law Firm Pledges $1M in Free Legal Work for Start-Ups

Posted Jun 10, 2011 8:45 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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Michigan-based Varnum is donating up to $1 million in pro bono legal services over the next five years to help start-up and fledgling businesses in the state.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the pledge Wednesday. The contribution is part of a plan Snyder is backing, MiSpringboard, to boost economic activity in Michigan, Crain's Detroit Business and the Associated Press reports.

“The firm is taking a proactive approach by rolling up its sleeves and partnering with us to create a positive climate that keeps our economy moving forward. This investment in Michigan will fuel our state’s drive to be a leader in the 21st century economy,” Snyder said, according to a release posted by Varnum.

The firm, which hopes to eventually gain new clients because of its pro bono work, expects to assist 60 companies a year screened and referred to them by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and other agencies.

The firm estimates it will provide a minimum of $2,500 worth of legal services to each new business on issues including preparing contracts, reviewing debt and equity finance agreements, intellectual property protection, and employment law matters.

Varnum has more than 150 attorneys at offices in Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Novi.

Clarified on June 13 to note that the $2,500 estimate is a minimum value for legal services donated for each new business.

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